Saturday, March 2, 2013
Balfour takes next step toward return
By Jason Catania
Grant Balfour suffered a knee injury during the first week of spring training that required arthroscopic surgery, but the Oakland Athletics closer is well on his way to a full recovery.
Just two weeks after undergoing a procedure to address the torn meniscus in his right knee, Balfour already has thrown 25 pitches off a mound, as John Hickey of InsideBayArea.com reports. The session was on Friday, one day after Balfour received approval to do so by team doctors, and while he reported residual soreness and some swelling, he said it went about as well as he could have hoped.
Prior to Friday, Balfour had been throwing off flat ground without any pain. That's good news, as is the fact that he had the surgery so early into camp, giving him plenty of time to get back to action and ready to go for the start of the season.
If the righty reliever should have any setbacks along the way, though, expect a pair of young arms -- Ryan Cook, a righty who was an All-Star as a rookie in 2012 and saw some action at closer, and Sean Doolittle, a lefty who posted a 3.04 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 11.4 K/9 as a rook -- to be next in line for the ninth inning.